50 Years on ‘The Edge’

(Above: Jann Wenner, founder of ‘Rolling Stone.’ Source: YouTube screenshot)

In 2017, Rolling Stone, the magazine founded by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph Gleason, celebrated a half century covering American music, politics and popular culture.

To mark the occasion, HBO ran Rolling Stone: Stories from The Edge, a two-part, four-hour documentary about a publication that “understood rock ‘n’ roll was more than music — it was a cultural force that re-shaped America.”

That documentary has been repurposed as six 42 minute episodes that you can buy now from iTunes — $2.99 per episode or  $14.99 for the entire series. It includes extras such as interviews with Jann Wenner’s son Gus, his ex-wife Jane, writer and director Cameron Crowe, and writer Matt Taibbi.

(Starting March 27, the series will also be available on Amazon, Vudu, Googleplay, Xbox and other streamers).

Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge draws “on previously unheard recordings provided by some of Rolling Stone‘s greatest writers.” There’s also an original interview with Bruce Springsteen and archival interviews with John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Britney Spears and David Bowie. Johnny Depp provides the voice of Hunter S. Thompson, founder of the highly personalized reporting style called “gonzo journalism.”

Jeff Daniels narrates and Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, along with Blair Foster directs.

Episode one covers “the drug busts of the Grateful Dead, the Groupies scene and the rise of Ike and Tina Turner. Jann Wenner scores a legendary interview with John Lennon at a pivotal moment for The Beatles.”

Episode two introduces “wunderkind Cameron Crowe.” Rolling Stone also “plunges into politics,(as) Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and photographer Annie Leibovitz cover the tumultuous 1972 Presidential Election.”

Episode three talks about Rolling Stone’s Patty Hearst kidnapping story scoop, … (and) “the music world reels as the Sex Pistols take the spotlight and tragedy befalls John Lennon.”

Episode four looks at “the punk ethos of the Clash and the Talking Heads,” while “Crowe enters the exhilarating orbit of David Bowie,” and Thompson writes “a story of wild 1980s excess in Palm Beach.”

Episode five examines “Ice T and his band, Body Count, (as they) polarize America with their take on police brutality. Jann Wenner, Hunter Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke interview Bill Clinton.”

Episode six discusses “a shocking Rolling Stone expose takes down one of the most powerful U.S. generals in the Afghanistan War, (and) the magazine suffers from a journalistic scandal.”

You can also stream the original two-part documentary with a standalone subscription to HBO Now, which is $14.99 a month; or with an HBO add-on to Amazon, Hulu, Sling or other streaming providers.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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